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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Project 2000 Step by Step
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Carl S. Chatfield, Timothy D. Johnson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good tutorial

I am a beginner in Project and I really learned something from this book. It is very well structured and after having read thru it I got the big picture as well as being able to work with Project.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java & XML, 2nd Edition: Solutions to Real-World Problems
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Brett McLaughlin
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not so good

The first edition of this book was considered one of the best on the subject of Java and XML. This new edition has expanded to include the developments in Java and XML over the last year. The author gives a little less handholding on the basics of XML reducing a three chapter introduction in the first edition to a one chapter summary. SAX, DOM, and JDOM all are covered in detail with each topic getting an introduction and an advanced chapter. JAXP 1.1 is covered in sufficient detail. After the introduction to the basic Java/XML APIs, the author moves on to some other interesting topics.
The chapters on web publishing frameworks and XML-RPC haven't changed much since the first edition. New chapters on SOAP, Web Services, and content syndication are welcome additions. The book ends with a look at data binding and JAXB.
The examples in the book are extremely clear and concise, explaining each topic well without being overly simplistic. As with the first edition, the author assumes that you are familiar with Java but unlike the first edition he assumes you have a basic understanding of XML.
If you are a Java developer and you are going to be working with XML then this book is required reading. The coverage of the Java/XML APIs is excellent. As for the other topics, it is a good introduction but for anyone working with SOAP or Web Services, other books will probably be required.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MySQL (3rd Edition) (Developer's Library)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Paul DuBois
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Thank heaven for Paul DuBois

This book is shockingly clear and well-written--something that is always a pleasure and especially surprising in a programming book. The author never forgets the audience in the introductory chapters and even starts with excellent explanations about the value of storing data in relational tables. Two nicely representative sample databases are developed in the first half of the book. These are then used in the latter portions of the book to develop scripts for web applications. I sincerely hope that Mr. DuBois writes more books for those of us who want all the details but need to start at the beginning. It was a great treat for this reader to find such a trustworthy author.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Black Ice: The Invisible Threat of Cyber-Terrorism
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Dan Verton, Dan Verton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the most important issues of the 21st century

The sad fact is that even after Sept 11, 2001, the technology-dependent Western world is sleepwalking towards another disaster. The blackout of October 14, 2003 is a shining example of just how great an impact an act of cyberterrorism can have. Granted it does not seem that the blackout was malicious, but it seems that the systems that control these vital lifelines of our modern society are increasingly being connected to public networks (i.e. the Internet) without good regard for the impact this can have. Dan Verton goes into a good level of detail for the non-technical reader about how vulnerable we really are - in every critical industry from power, water, energy, to banking and telecommunications. He also discusses another issue that goes largely ignored - the telecommunications industry is very vulnerable to a physical attack. An oft-neglected lesson of Sept. 11 is that the physical damage of that terror act took out an important chunk of our telecommunications that serves the finance industry - the point being that telecomms are vulnerable to physical attacks, and that this could produce a ripple effect throughout almost every facet of modern life. These are serious issues laid out in the course of this book that need to be discussed in the wider public discourse, but unfortunately the very extent of the disaster that could potentially occur is just too politically embarassing for the people that are charged with keeping us safe. If you are interested in public policy or technology, or just want to be an informed citizen - read this book.